The Geek’s Guide To Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is known for its beaches and nightlife – so what’s a geek to do?! Here are a few ways to explore the city’s historical, artistic, and intellectual landmarks. Bust out your fanny packs, nerds, the White City is ready to delight!
Want to spend a year enjoying the geeky sides of Tel Aviv? Check out:
Deep in the bowels of one of Tel Aviv’s forgotten places is a shrine to a forgotten culture. Tucked away in a desolate corner of the fifth floor of the New Central Bus Station, where tumbleweeds of discarded burekas wrappers and Cofix cups blow by, is Yung Yiddish. In addition to its impressive collection of Yiddish books, Yung Yiddish is also a museum of Yiddish artifacts, and a cultural center for Yiddish theater, literature and music. A mechaye!
The Museum of the City of Tel Aviv-Yafo, inside the Shalom Tower
From the outside, the Shalom Tower seems to be a shopping center, but walk inside and you are sure to be surprised. Inside the mall’s lobby, you will find a photo gallery of Tel Aviv’s earliest days, a 3D model of the city’s first residential streets, and diorama of its original homes. But even better: these historical tidbits are enveloped by floor-to-ceiling mosaics that artistically represent the city’s development. Combined, this exhibit transforms the Shalom Tower lobby into a beautiful time-capsule of the city’s origins. And it’s free!
Allenby street has no shortage of used book stores, but one stands out for its huge collection of English books. Halper’s, a bit tough to find on your first visit, lies down an alley a block or so up from the Great Synagogue. In addition to several rooms filled to the ceiling with English books, there are also tons of books in Hebrew (and in other languages, if you really want to show off!). If you’re like us, you’ll go in looking for one book and come out with five.
Florentin Graffiti Tour
Tel Aviv’s neighborhood in Florentin is a treasure within the city: a maze of ethnic restaurants, household goods, great coffee, and random sights, all clustered in just a few square blocks. Locals who understand the neighborhood’s ecosystem are in love with these streets– so let one of them show you around! Aaron Gertz Tours will weave you through the neighborhood, showing you Florentin’s history, its colorful graffiti culture, and its tasty delicacies.
The Trumpeldor Cemetery
Trumpeldor Cemetery was Tel Aviv’s first cemetery, and as such, you can find buried here some of the city’s founding figures. At the time of the cemetery’s establishment in 1902, no one would have predicted that the cemetery would end up smack-dab in the center of downtown Tel Aviv. Quite an appropriate place, in the end, to bury some of the city’s most influential characters. Take a walk around, quiz yourself on Israeli history, and marvel at the way the city has changed in the past 100 years.
The Little Prince
Nestled on busy King George Street lies the cozy haven that is “The Little Prince” bookshop and cafe. Rummage through shelves of second-hand books in English and Hebrew and make yourself comfy in a deep armchair. A charming place to sit and work or read by yourself or meet friends for a coffee and a snack. And if you find yourself spending the whole day, you can later hop on over to The Little Prince’s second branch down the street– which has a full rooftop bar!
The BINA Secular Yeshiva in Tel Aviv
The BINA Secular Yeshiva in Tel Aviv has long been a hub for Israelis of all stripes to participate in Jewish learning activities – and the Secular Yeshiva has programming for English speakers too. In their magical location in the Tel Aviv Botanical Gardens, BINA hosts lectures and classes about Judaism and Israel. If you are looking for an open-minded, casual, and intellectually stimulating place to build community and expand your Jewish knowledge, this is the place to do it.